Project Graduation volleyball fundraiser set for next month

A previous Project Graduation volleyball match. Photo by Melanie A. Ryan

Kearny High School Project Graduation’s annual volleyball tournament fundraiser returns this year after a hiatus Friday, April 21, at the Kearny High School gym, 336 Devon St., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and matches starting an hour later.

Matchups include KHS teachers v. seniors; firefighters v. police; the board of education v. town employees; Franklin School v. Washington School; Garfield School v. Roosevelt School; and Lincoln Middle School v. Schuyler School.

Tickets for the annual giant 50/50 will be available for $5 a piece as well as tickets for a raffle for that night only.

Refreshments, sold by volunteers from the Junior Woman’s Club of Arlington, will be available for purchase. General admission is $5 and $3 for students and senior citizens. This is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year.

Project Graduation began 17 years ago and is a volunteer group of parents, staff and community members whose goal is to provide a drug- and alcohol-free night immediately after the high school graduation. It’s a memorable and unforgettable event KHS alums often recall with fondness.

The event itself boasts 80% participation, but organizers say they ultimately want to see 100% participation. This year, it takes place June 23, immediately after the graduation ceremony and ends around 5 a.m. the next day. The event includes keeping the teens fed throughout the night, transport, and entertainment.

Why spend so much time preparing a night like this? Consider the following.

In 2019, statistics reveal 30.3% of New Jersey’s high school seniors drink booze; 15.3% binge drink; 20.1% use marijuana and 44.7% use vapes. The National Institutes of Health says 3,500 underage kids die each year from drinking, most of which occur between prom season and graduation.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.